There is no absolutely perfect resume template. Everyone has their own formatting preference and elaboration emphasis. However, there are a few shared elements that you may want to keep in mind when creating your profile. These 6 tips can help you create an effective resume that will catch an employer’s eye.
Tip #1: Don’t Put Too Much Into Your Summary
Let’s begin with the basics. A summary is:
“a comprehensive and usually brief abstract, recapitulation, or compendium of previously stated facts or statements.” (Dictionary.com).
So, when it comes to the resume, your summary highlights your expertise, competencies and achievements.
What should we put in the summary? There is no absolute answer for that. You can highlight:
- Years of experience
- Areas of expertise
- Tools and/or technologies you are specialized in
- Attributes you possess
It should be no longer than a half-page, but one page is acceptable if you have worked over 20 years using various technologies. I have seen many applicants simply spread out those plain attribute sentences (team player, fast learner, strong leadership, etc.) or throw all the technical buzz words into their summaries, which is meaningless and a waste of space. Refine your summary, or if you want, you can leave it out entirely.
Tip #2: Be Specific About Your Employment
This goes with the first point. You can mention tools and technologies in your summary. However, DO NOT only mention them in your summary. Talk about how you used them specifically in each of your positions.
For example, how did you use MS Project? What was your responsibility when using the Angular 4 framework? Answers to questions like these can help the recruiter and the hiring manager better understand your roles and identify if you are suitable for their position.
Tip #3: Grammar, Grammar, Grammar
Here I am, asking you not to write a stunning paragraph about your work. All you need to be aware of, perhaps, is to pay more attention to the tenses. You should use past tense in your previous employment and present or present progressive for your current one.
Many candidates have a “mixture” of tense for even one job. It might be because you recently revised your resume without paying attention to the grammar. Therefore, when updating your resume, make sure the tenses are consistent. If you have left your most recent role, remember to change the responsibility description to past tense.
Other grammar mistakes include misuse of singular/plural, misspelling, etc. These issues may easily be overlooked, but they could also cost you the chance of getting your dream position.
Tip #4: Wisely Use Upper and Lower Case
I don’t understand why some people like to use capital letters in bizarre places. Let’s look at some descriptions from a QA candidate’s resume:
Example 1: Develop and execute manual and automated test plans, Test Effort, Estimates and budget.
Why did you capitalize “Test Effort” and “Estimates,” which are of equal importance to “budget”?
Example 2: Collaborates with other departments and Development Groups in the planning and management of Group projects and programs in order to optimizing testing activities.
First, this was from a past project, and he used the present tense. Second, I don’t know what he is trying to express by capitalizing “Development Groups” and “Group.” Third, the sentence is redundant, and there are other grammar mistakes if you continue to read further.
Tip #5: Don’t Put Your Resume Title in the Header
You might think about putting the title—in this case, your name and contact information—in the header area. However, that may cause the resume screening software to be unable to extract data from your profile. Hence you will become “unidentified.”
Tip #6: Don’t Organize Your Resume With Tables
The same thing applies here. Some people want to fix their layout by placing text in tables. The outcome, however, could be counterproductive. Even if your resume is screened manually, the recruiter may use a different version of MS Office, which could mess up your layout.
To prevent any potential screening issues, I also recommend that people do not add page borders—simple is better!
It is not the “design” of your resume that makes your profile noticeable. The content is what makes you stand out from others. Each resume is a piece of art. Spend more time on refining your resume content, and you will get more than you expect.
Please feel free to comment below if my 6 tips for creating an effective resume are helpful to you!